Sports

December 9, 2012

All-Area cross country: Houston, Pacheco coming back for more (with VIDEO)

VARNELL — High school cross country is a sport that rewards the team and highlights the individual. But for Bekah Houston and Isaac Pacheco, it is also a sport that brings about solitary recognition, solitary work habits and solitary goals and accomplishments. For both, though, being part of a team is what makes high school cross country an enjoyable part of the year.

“If you have a bad race, you can say it is your fault if you look at it from an individual perspective,” said Houston, a senior for Dalton this fall. “But as a team, you are supporting each other. You are warming up together, and you train every day all together, and it is a big team dynamic spending all that time together.”

But when the race begins, neither Houston nor Pacheco is on the same level with the rest of their teams. In fact, they are on another plateau altogether.

Houston has consistently been the top female running in the area, finishing fifth overall in the Region 7-4A meet and posting a 24th-place finish at the state meet in Carrollton. She has not been beaten by anyone this year, and along the way, she broke her own personal goal of finishing under 19 minutes in the 5K competitions.

For the second year in a row, North Murray’s Pacheco was a step ahead of the area’s competition. Pacheco, who was second in Region 7-2A last season, moved into the top spot and finished as the individual Region 5-3A champion this year with a time of 16:40. He was first at the Pickens Invitational with a time of 16:51, and he finished 41st overall at the Class 3A state meet.

Houston and Pacheco again earn the top honors as The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Cross Country Runners of the Year. This is the fourth year that both have been named to the team with Houston the Runner of the Year for the third straight season, and Pacheco winning back-to-back top honors for boys runners.

They are joined on the all-area team by Northwest Whitfield twins Brady and Parker Cook, Dalton’s Francisco Perez and Murray County’s Servio Martinez for the boys. For the girls team, Northwest’s Natalie Williams and Shelby Wilson are joined by Murray County’s Nayeli Jacobo and Dalton’s Ashley Parham. All-area honors were selected by The Daily Citizen sports staff with input from area coaches.

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